Anti-emigration argument wins debate

Debate proposition lead speaker Eoin O'Liathain (TCD Phil) opens the the motion 'This House Would Emigrate' at the 2013 Irish Times Debate final held in Queens Universtiy's Riddel Hall, Belfast. Photograph:Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker

Debate proposition lead speaker Eoin O'Liathain (TCD Phil) opens the the motion 'This House Would Emigrate' at the 2013 Irish Times Debate final held in Queens Universtiy's Riddel Hall, Belfast. Photograph:Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker

Sat, Feb 23, 2013, 00:00

That this house would emigrate, was the motion for the 2013 Irish Times Debate in the Riddel Hall of Queen’s University Belfast last night and after a long, disputatious night of verbal cut and thrust it was those urging people to remain in Ireland who triumphed.

Liam Brophy and John Engle of the TCD Bram Stoker Club took the team Demosthenes trophy against opponents from the TCD Philosophical Society, the UCD L&H and the TCD Historical Society while Kate Brady from TCD Hist, the only woman of the 12 debaters, won the individual Christina Murphy memorial prize.

Next month all three will head off for a three-week debating tour of the US sponsored by The Irish Times and the National Parliamentary Debating Association of America.

The team runners-up supporting the motion were Eoin O’Liathain and Brian O’Beirne with Rob McCarthy of UCD L&H taking second spot in the individual section, again supporting the motion.

“Emigration has dogged Irish people throughout their history,” said Liam Brophy opening opposition to the motion for the TCD Bram Stoker Club in front of a lively audience that included lawyers, students, former competitors and proud parents.

”Emigration occupies a unique hold over the psyche of the Irish people, a hold that causes us to regard it as an inevitability,” he added. What he wanted was for this generation to stay in Ireland and “demand a better quality of politics and politicians”.

“Emigration has a stranglehold on the Irish that has inhibited and will continue to inhibit our development into a mature nation as long as we let it continue, and that cycle of emigration is one that we have to break,” he argued.

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